For the capital of such a bread-obsessed country, Berlin’s sandwich game remains disappointingly subpar. But a few contenders have stepped up to the plate of late, each with their own gimmicky spin on the classic portable meal.
Boozy: Mr. Baps
For those mourning the death of the “old Berlin”, we say to you: at least a Welsh comedian can still realise his dream of opening a pop-up restaurant dedicated solely to alcoholic sandwiches. Wait, what? Here we should mention that Miles Lloyd’s creations (original name: “Boozed-up Baps”) won’t actually get you drunk, but instead feature wine, beer or hard liquor in reduced, saucy form, combined with fresh ingredients from the Maybachufer market atop fluffy white rolls from a nearby Turkish bakery. The options, made to order at events across the city, change constantly; if it’s on the menu, try the tropical-themed one with roasted veggies, rocket and peach-mango-rum sauce, made optionally un-vegan by chilli-lime marinated chicken. Always available is the version with mushrooms, feta cheese and a thick, herby Guinness gravy – which, needless to say, pairs perfectly with a foamy glass of the same beer.
Various locations, check facebook.com/MrBapsSandwiches for whereabouts, sandwiches €7.50-11
Goofy: Style Stallone
When Till Heinisch opened his discospangled Imbiss last year, the gourmet subs, fries and snacks on offer were eclipsed by, well, Till himself. Postcards distributed all around Reuterkiez depicted the portly German with bowl cut, bare chest and red leggings, looking like he’d stepped straight off the cover of a bargain-bin Schlager LP. Specials like “five beers and one currywurst for €15” have only added to the wacky mythos. The sandwiches, however, are dead serious. Hearty rolls from Neukölln’s Endorphina bakery are stuffed with organic and homemade fillings that pack enough flavour and texture to keep you interested till the last bite. Unctuous Havelland bio pulled pork, for example, is nicely contrasted with pineapple, crunchy pickles, onion marmalade and plenty of pepper (plus mac ‘n’ cheese, because why not?), while tangy rhubarb chutney zhuzhes up deep-fried bricks of cheddar and Bergkäse in the “Schlucken Cheese” variation. There’s nothing healthy or vegan-friendly about this place, but if you’re looking for a sandwich that will keep you full for a day and change, this is it.
Reuterstr. 57, Neukölln, Tue-Thu 13-22, Fri-Sun 14-22, sandwiches €6.50-10
Cutesy: Nom Nom
Admittedly, we were biased against this Prenzlauer Berg lunch nook from the start, being of the firm belief that any restaurant that uses infantilising phrases like “nom nom”, “yummy tummy”, and “itsy bits” ought to be immediately Dracarys’d out of existence. But the genuinely nice counter staff (who jumped to explain the menu in both English and German), the old-school hip hop soundtrack, and the presence of ice in our Leitungswasser (really!) had us hoping for a pleasant surprise. Alas, Nom Nom’s signature product, a vertically presented, top-loaded sandwich formed from a single thick piece of grilled brioche, just doesn’t work for us. The bread, from Portuguese stalwarts Bekarei, is terrific, but its buttery richness overpowers the paltry scoop of filling inside it – in our case, a mayo-heavy mix of fried buttermilk-marinated chicken and applecabbage- jalapeño slaw. They acknowledge the imbalance by giving you a little bowl of excess filling on the side, which is thoughtful but rather defeats the purpose of ordering a sandwich in the first place. This, kids, is what happens when you start with the killer Instagram shot and work backwards from there.
Schönhauser Allee 44, Prenzlauer Berg, Wed-Fri 12-15:30 and 17:30-21:30, Sat-Sun 13-21:30, sandwiches €5-8.50